Beer festival was all-time record breaker

More than seven hundred people attended the 2016 East Keswick Beer Festival on October 1st and it raised several thousand pounds for charity.

Final figures will be published later but the organisers were delighted that the response exceeded all expectation and are already planning an improved 2017 version.

This years’s beer festival differed from previous ones in many ways. The Village Hall organised eleven successful annual beer festivals up to 2015 but announced last year’s would be the last. However a group of villagers led by Ben Rider revived the beer festival with the intention of raising over a thousand pounds for the charity Parkinson’s UK. That target has been exceeded several times over.

The 2016 Beer Festival ran to a different format. First there was a sponsors event the afternoon before which included a hog roast provided by the village butchers. The Saturday main event featured many more beers than previous plus a Gin bar, a Prosecco bar, Pie and peas (as previous), a pizza van, children’s entertainment and face painting. Whereas previously beers had been from Yorkshire, this years came from a wider area and even included cask lagers. A full day of live acts was completed by an evening disco. 

Villager Matt Rushall, one of the organisers, said the day went better than they ever expected: ‘We’d like to thank villagers for their making it a big success, the many who volunteered for bar duty or other duties and the generosity of the sponsors. The event raised several thousand for Parkinsons, as well as some funds for Bardsey School and rent for the Village Hall. it gave hundreds a great day out so it was a win-win situation for all’. 

The main instigator was Ben who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s four years ago. He said ‘When the previous organisers decided they could no longer put on the beer festival, my friends and I decided to take it on and that it would be a good way to raise money for Parkinson’s UK. For me personally it’s another opportunity to raise awareness of Parkinson’s. People think it only affects older people, which I did until I got my diagnosis at 31. It was two weeks before my first child was due so it was a huge shock. Life has changed massively since then, but the group that are helping me with the beer festival have all been really supportive throughout’. 

So what is Parkinson’s? It is a degenerative neurological condition for which there is currently no known cure. The main symptoms are tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity. It affects 127,000 people in the UK, around one in five hundred. Every hour, someone is told they have Parkinson’s. Symptoms vary from person to person so local groups are valuable in providing support and an opportunity to share experiences with others in a similar situation. Parkinson’s UK is the leading charity for those with the condition. Its mission is to find a cure and improve life for everyone affected through cutting edge research, information, support and campaigning. More information is available at